NHL Predictions: March 9th Including Washington Capitals vs Edmonton Oilers

Washington Capitals vs Edmonton Oilers
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Welcome back to another day of NHL Predictions. Each day, Last Word on Hockey takes a look at the games that are happening and gives our predictions for each one, breaking down head-to-head and other factors that may play in. We also have a featured game of the day, which is considered must-watch TV. Today’s featured game is the Washington Capitals vs Edmonton Oilers.

NHL Predictions With Washington Capitals vs Edmonton Oilers

Washington Capitals vs Edmonton Oilers

Head-to-Head: Capitals 0 – 1 Oilers

Just over a month ago, these two teams collided in Washington. The Oilers left Capital One Arena with two points thanks to late heroics by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. He scored a shorthanded goal with just over four minutes remaining in the third period and sealed the game with another tally three minutes later.

Goalie Trouble

Fortunately for the Capitals, Nugent-Hopkins won’t be available tonight after being deemed week-to-week six days ago. However, with respect to him, there are more talented players Washington will have to have an answer for. That answer needs to come from the goaltender, a position that has been a question for the Caps for most of the season.

The highly-touted Ilya Samsonov has had a poor campaign to date. He has a .901 SV% and a 2.93 GAA through 32 games played. His partner Vitek Vanecek has outplayed him, sporting a .921 SV% and a 2.25 GAA to this point. The Capitals are hoping that one of their goalies can take a stranglehold on the position with just 24 games remaining in the season. Samsonov figures to be in line for the start tonight with Vanecek playing last night against the Calgary Flames. Both goalies are set to become restricted free agents at the end of the year.

The Stars Come Out To Play

A marquee matchup like this will have the spotlight on the stars. Few shine brighter than Alex Ovechkin and Connor McDavid. In Ovechkin’s 1,252 game career, he has played the Oilers just 19 times. He has 13 goals and 23 points in those games. McDavid has just over a third of the games played that Ovi has with 463. Through nine meetings with Washington, he has scored five times and accumulated 12 points.

Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are undoubtedly heavily relied on, which makes the injury to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins even worse. But it isn’t the only injury that the Oilers are dealing with. In addition to RNH, Jesse Puljujarvi, Evan Bouchard, Tyson Barrie, Zack Kassian, Kris Russell and Mike Smith are not expected to play tonight for various reasons. It’s not good news for a team that’s at the bottom part of a rollercoaster-type season. They have lost three games in a row and six of their last eight. Edmonton is desperate to take advantage tonight of a team coming off a back-to-back.

Prediction: Oilers win 5-4

Montreal Canadiens vs Vancouver Canucks

Head-to-Head: Canadiens 0 – 1 Canucks

Despite both having a 7-3-0 record in the last 10 games, both the Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks find themselves in completely different positions in the standings as the trade deadline draws near. The Canadiens are playing for pride, and for some, a chance to move from a bottom-feeder to a contender. The Canucks, on the other hand, are fighting for their playoff lives.

Montreal’s Side

As evidenced by their record, Montreal is far from the team they used to be under head coach Dominique Ducharme. Their young players have taken a significant step with Martin St. Louis at the helm. Since he took over on February 9th, Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki have been the team’s best two players. Caufield leads with seven goals while Suzuki leads with nine assists. They have 14 and 13 points respectively. On defence, Jeff Petry has boosted his stock under his new head coach as well. He has seven points in his last nine games. Unfortunately, after suffering an upper-body injury against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night, it looks like he’ll be on the sidelines tonight.

Vancouver’s Side

Like Montreal, Vancouver has had its own share of coaching issues this season. Also, like Montreal, a coaching change has had a positive impact on the team. Since Bruce Boudreau took over behind the bench on December 5th, the Canucks have a 20-8-4 record. Leading the way since then and all season long has been J.T. Miller. Miller is having an outstanding season with 63 points. His next closest teammate in that category is Quinn Hughes with 44. In goal tonight is expected to be Thatcher Demko. Demko has been one of the busiest goalies in the league this year. He’s appeared in each of the Canucks’ last 13 games. He ranks third behind only Connor Hellebuyck and Juuse Saros in both games played (45) and saves (1,377) this season.

Prediction: Canucks win 4-3

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